Botswana could be de-listed from Dirty Money Lot

FATF says Botswana has made progress in combating money-laundering and terrorism financing

GAZETTE REPORTER

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Botswana’s exit from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FAFT) grey list and the European Union (EU) black list will be determined by the outcome of an on-site assessment that will be discussed at the FAFT Plenary in October 2021, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Peggy Serame, has said.

In October 2018, FAFT made a determination that Botswana was not taking sufficient steps to implement recommendations made by assessors in a mechanism known as Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).

FAFT then recommended that the country be referred to International Cooperation Review (ICRG) for monitoring and potential listing, which is often referred to as FAFT grey listing. Following the FAFT grey listing, the European Union (EU) placed Botswana on its list of third high-risk countries, often referred to as the black list.

Since then, Botswana has made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) to strengthen the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, passing a series of laws to plug deficiencies.

According to Minister Serame, Botswana has been making regular updates to FAFT’s International Compliance Review Group (ICRG) since being listed in 2018.

“At the June 2021 FAFT Plenary meetings, the FAFT made the initial determination that Botswana had substantially addressed the action plan, (that) this warranted an on-site assessment to verify that the implementation of Botswana’s anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) reforms has begun and is being sustained, and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation in the future,” Serame said recently when updating the nation on the country status in relation to money-laundering and countering terrorism financing.

Serame reported that Botswana had attended the ESAAMLG 42nd Task Force of Senior Officials meeting from 26 August to 6 September 2021. “At these meetings, Botswana was commended for making progress in complying with the FAFT standards by addressing deficiencies in her AML/CFT framework,” she said.

“Botswana is making all these efforts of complying with the FAFT standards so that we guard against our financial system being used for money-laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.”

She noted that the country is hoping that the outcome of the on-site visit undertaken by the FAFT in August 2021 will bear positive results, leading to Botswana being de-listed from the FAFT grey listing.